Fact or Fiction :: Is Mineral Oil Bad For Your Skin?

11/06/2012 Osmosis Skincare 0 Comments

Mineral oil is a commonly used ingredient in skin care products, but it often gets a bad rap.  Separate fact from fiction with a little help from our Educator and Artistic Direction, Alejandro Falcon.


Fact or Fiction:   Mineral Oil causes acne.
Answer:  FICTION

Slathering a heavy mineral oil all over the face may exacerbate the condition for some acne-prone individuals.  However, most people will not experience any problems.  In fact, a 2005 study reported in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that the type of highly refined and purified Mineral Oil found in cosmetic and skincare products is non-comedogenic, meaning it does not clog pores which can lead to blackheads and acne.

Fact or Fiction:  Mineral Oil causes cancer.
Answer:  FICTION

A highly refined and purified form of Mineral Oil is used for Cosmetic products. Its purity is regulated by the United States FDA and other international regulatory agencies. There is also absolutely no evidence that cosmetic grade Mineral Oil causes cancer and there has been plenty of testing done to ensure that fact. There are no published reports in any of the dermatological or medical journals indicating a link between Mineral Oil and any forms of cancer.

Fact or Fiction:  Mineral Oil is a skin irritant.

It is the unrefined and less expensive formulas, which in the past several decades, were used in cosmetics and led to some irritations. That is because they were not purified so they contained other irritating ingredients that caused issues on the skin. Purified Mineral Oil will not cause any irritation on the skin. The nature of Mineral Oil, topically, is to lubricate and prevent moisture loss. Molecularly it is too big in size to penetrate or be absorbed by the skin.

Mineral Oil History

Most often, Mineral Oil is a liquid by-product of the distillation of Petroleum. Petroleum, a natural ingredient that comes from the Earth, is a naturally occurring flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds that are found in geological formations beneath the Earth’s surface. It is formed when large quantities of dead organisms, usually zooplankton and algae, that are buried underneath sedimentary rock, undergo intense heat and pressure. When the first oil rigs were used to extract Petroleum from the ground, workers disliked the paraffin-like material forming on rigs because it caused them to malfunction but they noticed that, when used on cuts and burns, it hastened healing.  It also prevented the skin on their hands from cracking.  As we now know that algae is full of antioxidants and healing properties. It was one of the reasons the workers cuts were healing so rapidly.

A young chemist by the name of Robert Chesebrough took the unrefined black "rod wax", as the drillers called it, back to his laboratory to refine it and explore potential uses. Chesebrough, traveled around New York demonstrating the product to encourage sales by burning his skin with acid or an open flame, then spreading the ointment on his injuries and showing how his past injuries healed, he claimed, by his miracle product. He patented this product and opened a store in 1870 using the name Vaseline. After petroleum jelly became a medicine-chest staple, consumers began to use it for myriad ailments and cosmetic purposes, including chapped hands and lips, toenail fungus.  Swimmers used it all over their bodies to keep warm in the water and maintain buoyancy when training, doing channel crossings and long, ocean swims.


What exactly IS Mineral Oil?

When distilling Petroleum, we can obtain Mineral Oil. It is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless liquid that has hydrophobic qualities much like many other hydrocarbons derived from crude oil. Mineral Oil is mostly found in ointments, baby skin products and creams for cosmetic uses. It’s most well known as baby oil that is used by many mothers to treat diaper rashes. Extremely pure Mineral Oil is also often used in cellular applications such as In Vitro Fertilization, where it can be used to suspend several oocytes and embryos on a single Petri dish while still being able to be worked on and observed separately. It is also used on burn victims to prevent their skins from cracking and promote healing.

The denser form of Mineral Oil we know as Paraffin Wax.  It helps to seal moisture on the skin and is used in Pedicure and Manicuring treatments to lock in moisturizers or serums.

Little Known Fact

Food-grade paraffin wax (a denser form of Mineral Oil) is used in the following items:

·         Any Shiny coating used in candy-making; although edible, it is nondigestible, passing right through the body without being broken down
·         Coating for many kinds of hard cheeses, like Edam cheese
·         Ice cream topping
·         Sealant for jars, cans, and bottles
·         Chewing gum additive
We actually ingest more Mineral Oil, in its many forms, daily then the products we apply on our skins. Since many natural ingredients are purified and processed to be safe for skincare products. We have to keep in mind that Mineral Oil is “Natural”. It is pulled right out of Mother Earth and purified for use in Cosmetics. There is no synthetic process, just simple distillation of naturally occurring oil. Even an ingredient like Panthenol requires some chemical modification. For Mineral Oil, it is just natural purification.


At Osmosis use the highest grade and purified ingredients available in our products.  While we do not use Mineral Oil in most of our products, Mineral Oil is used in our number one selling Colour item, Age Defying Treatment Concealer.  It is used in the color component of the concealer to provide emollience for the pigments to cover evenly and completely when used for camouflaging. Many of you have told us how much you love how this Concealer covers so well and does not look caked or heavy under the eyes to accentuate fine lines and wrinkles.  This is due, in part, to the mineral oil used in the concealer.  Even though mineral oil is listed in the top 5 ingredients of the concealer, the amount used is a very small ratio within the formula. We hope this article helps you feel safe using our most popular Colour product, the Age DefyingTreatment Concealer.


You Might Also Like